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Ron Z.
Ron Z., - Saturn Tech -
Category: Saturn
Satisfied Customers: 18961
Experience:  18+yrs experience. State Inspector and Saturn Diagnostics
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I have a 2008 Saturn Aura XE with 116,000 plus miles. Engine

Customer Question

I have a 2008 Saturn Aura XE with 116,000 plus miles. Engine check light came on. Took car to dealership. They diagnosed misfires in cylinders 1 and 3 at 30%. Said I had 3 choices: replace the engine with rebuilt one, do nothing, drive it home and incur damage, drive the car until it freezes up and stops dead with no warning. Would not give me estimates on engine replacement but said it could be between $3,000 and $20,000. Never mentioned anything about replacing cylinders or head gaskets or spark plugs, etc. The car has never indicated anything wrong with engine--no stalling, hesitating, rough riding, etc. But I am an older woman and I don't think this dealership is being completely honest with me. I have no idea if the engine could be fixed for less money, or if rebuilt engine replacement should cost that much. Then the service writer told me on top of the engine cost, that it would be necessary to buy all new hoses, etc.
JA: Are you hoping to fix this yourself?
Customer: No. I am just wondering if they are telling me the truth about the cost to replace an engine and that it just cannot be fixed.
JA: OK! The Saturn Mechanic will help you with the diagnostics so you are sure to get this fixed right. Is there anything else the Saturn Mechanic should be aware of about your Saturn?
Customer: Not really. Other than the garage door at my office ripping off my Onstar thing on the roof, a minor crack in the back bumper, car has not given me much trouble at all. Did have a leaking air conditioner into the floor of the backseat last year, but that was fixed. Otherwise it has always been reliable. I am very good about regular servicing/maintenance items.
JA: I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Saturn Mechanic about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Saturn
Expert:  Ron Z. replied 1 year ago.

When you say "misfires in cylinders 1 and 3 at 30%" - is this a cylinder compression test saying the cylinders are only working at 30% capacity? Or that the misfire is only a 30% (minor) misfire?

Also- may I have the engine size in this vehicle?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They told me they "went deeper" into the engine to find the problem, so I'm assuming they did some sort of diagnostic test. It's a V6, that is all I know about it. I just got off the phone with them and she told me the cost for engine replacement was going to be approx. $5,300.
Expert:  Ron Z. replied 1 year ago.

Ok. If it was a "deeper" test, then more than likely, this is a "cylinder compression" test. It's the over-all ability for the cylinder to keep and hold compression during the combustion stage. When it's low, this is more commonly associated with a valve problem or a cylinder head gasket leak. The head gasket leak would definitely show some noticeable symptoms though. And for valves to be bad at 116k is not very common. It's hard to say, without seeing "what" tests they have ran, and the results of those tests. In my opinion however, I find it hard that at 116k, there's a loss of compression and no major symptoms besides a slight misfire.

With that said... it might be a good idea to get a second opinion. I'd recommend a non-Dealer associated shop. There are some very good local shops that have very talented and capable Mechanics. Just to see if they come up with a different diagnosis. At 116k, there are a few things that can cause a misfire- spark plugs, ignition coils, fuel injectors... etc.

As for the price of a new engine- it sells for around $2900 and the Labor Time Guide calls for 10.5 hours to complete the job. Labor rates vary from shop to shop, so what you pay for labor will effect the bot***** *****ne. For a job of this type, a "fair" labor rate can be anywhere from $85-$125 per hour. So $5300 is still on the high side, even IF a new engine is needed. But again... very rarely do you see a 2008 GM v6 with such major engine issues at 116k. I'd strongly recommend a second opinion.

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Expert:  Ron Z. replied 1 year ago.